Earnhardt Continues Climb, Gordon Continues Fall

DaleThe No. 88 pit crew during a green flag stop. Earnhardt, Jr. finished fourth in the Fedex 400 at Dover International Speedway. (Getty Images)

Dover Del., — Dale Earnhardt, Jr., had the best finish at Dover International Speedway since 2007 finishing fourth in Sunday’s Fedex 400 while teammate Jeff Gordon continued to struggle with racing luck that has not been on the side of the No. 24 in 2012.

“Jimmie (Johnson) did a good job,” said Earnhardt of the race winner, and teammate. “We’ve got the fastest cars in the business right now, and they ought to be real proud.”

Earnhardt said although the car had good speed the car was a little loose and there wasn’t a chance to challenge Matt Kenseth (third place finisher) at the end.

“Wherever you kind of settled in after the restart is kind of where you were,” Earnhardt said. “We had a good car though.”

“It was a good day for us, a good point’s day,” added Earnhardt, who sits third in Sprint Cup points just 10 points behind leader, Greg Biffle. “We are getting close. We are finishing good when we are not winning. I can’t complain too much about how we are doing.”

Earnhardt did not think there was anybody that could beat Jeff Gordon who had the fastest car early.

“Man that No. 24 (Gordon) was fast,” said Earnhardt. “I know they are disappointed they did such a great job, that car was amazing.”

As luck would have it Gordon stumbled upon trouble late in the race with a loose rear tire which forced an unscheduled pit stop.

Jeff Gordon at Dover International Speedway. (Getty Images)

Gordon said they put themselves in the position for the finish, but that several things have happened out of their control.

“I don’t know what happened, but we definitely had a loose left rear,” said Gordon. “It didn’t go on right to begin with and the left-rear tire-changer knew that.”

“When I started to complain about it we knew that there might be an issue there and there was,” Gordon added. “In some ways we got fortunate today. I could have stayed out there and wrecked because it wasn’t really vibrating. It was getting real loose.”

Gordon went two laps down following the tire issue, but cycled through to lead as green flag pit stops ran through. A caution did come out to help the situation, but another caution came out that erased the progress the team had made. Gordon wasn’t sure the caution was warranted.

“I can’t wait to see that debris on TV,” said Gordon. “I’d like to see it because I certainly never saw it. I’m not going to make any comments until I see what they’re reasoning for it was.”

Gordon is tired of the same bad luck week in and week out.

“It’s always more frustrating when you’ve got a car that can win; and you show it by going up there and taking the lead,” Gordon said. “We don’t care about finishing top-15 or top-10 right now.”

“That does nothing for us,” added Gordon. “We need wins.”

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